I was dreaming to go and check out the Biennale di Venezia since I was in the 11th grade. It was always somehow a distant land of beautiful things. Not the Venice which I was avoiding going to while living in Italy, but the Biennale itself. All those years I would check the program, register to all of the newsletters available, so that I would get all the updates and know who’s doing what.
And so this year there was this possibility to go there and be wildly astonished … and I somehow wasn’t.
I would be even less lovable than I am if I’d start naming the pavilions that caused total depression and despair, so I’ll just name those, that were great and inspirational.
Jasmina Cibic in the Slovenian Pavilion and her video works and the overall installation of the space were a blast, really. “For Our Economy and Culture”, how more ironic can one get? You can get some info on it here. I love the way she raises the discourse of national representation, framing, strategies, models of identity construction mechanism, and gets even deeper into the politics and philosophy of national culture and architecture. If you’re in Venice this summer, go see it! And the beetle wallpaper is just great 😉
Romania Pavilion was genial, really. It kind of sums up my recurring thought about the overload of the material artworks and the need to create immaterial artwork that as an added value have the value of immediacy and transience, as well as exclusiveness (those who would experience this artwork would not be anyone, but would be the audience that comes to the right place at the right moment), as opposed to intrinsically human incessant need to stuff the world with big and small scale objects, things, pieces, etc.
It was a “virtual history”, as named by one critic, of the works that have sometime in the history been displayed in the Biennale. You could see works Chagall, Matisse, Modrian, Klimt, Rodin, Yinka Shonibare and others reenacted by five (depending on an artwork, might have been one only) performers. It was a perfect place to stay (I would’ve loved to stay there all day through) and a hide-away from the hectic money rush you feel all over the Biennale otherwise.
I liked the sound installation by Konrad Smolenski in the Pavilion of Poland as well. I think the name’s just perfect: “Everything was Forever, Until it was no More”. But well I think it’s also because I have a soft spot for sound art. Thus I cannot discuss objectively if it was the best thing to present in the Biennial.
And overall, thinking about the “best things” to present in the Biennale – well, amongst that plenty of really mediocre art object, or – in some cases – objects called art – there was really little really good and interesting art. Or did I miss out on something? It is a huge fair, and people come here with political and marketing intentions, the representation of countries makes it even more political, and ladies in Gucci with their haute couture make up and high-heels (looks funny in the grass of Giardini) add up to the impression that it’s a highly snobbish thing going on here. But I believe that this feeling is dispersed gradually over the six months of the events of the Biennial. Or should I say “I hope”?
That’s too long for one post I suppose. Thus to be continued.